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What do you do when parents expect miracles?

Discussion in 'Private tutors' started by CathySupply, Jan 23, 2011.

  1. CathySupply

    CathySupply New commenter

    Or ... should I just have said no?
    I started out as a tutor in September and now have a modest five students: two KS1, two Year 6 and a Year 11. The year 11 boy's parents initially said they wanted him to have his basic literacy brought up to a higher standard but are now explicitly hoping for a C in English GCSE (he got an E in Nov, which is when they called me in). The year 6 girl's parents said much the same thing, also that they wanted her confidence improving (also English) but are now panicking about SATs and wanting her prepared for the test.
    I wish they'd asked me to help out earlier but they didn't so I'm doing the best I can! I do just get the feeling that people out there think that tutors can provide a miracle quick fix and I certainly can't. The older student is way behind ... I think my greatest achievement so far has been to get him to read a novel!
    I didn't make any rash promises, I know the subject (if not the mark scheme and standards for grades for KS 3 and 4, which I'm swotting up on) and I'm enthusiastic and encouraging ... but I feel as if I'm falling into a bottomless pit. I don't know where to start with these children as it seems so very late in the day. I worry that teaching to the test (which is what the parents are asking for) will further erode their confidence and fail to get them what they're paying for, too.
     
  2. CathySupply

    CathySupply New commenter

    Or ... should I just have said no?
    I started out as a tutor in September and now have a modest five students: two KS1, two Year 6 and a Year 11. The year 11 boy's parents initially said they wanted him to have his basic literacy brought up to a higher standard but are now explicitly hoping for a C in English GCSE (he got an E in Nov, which is when they called me in). The year 6 girl's parents said much the same thing, also that they wanted her confidence improving (also English) but are now panicking about SATs and wanting her prepared for the test.
    I wish they'd asked me to help out earlier but they didn't so I'm doing the best I can! I do just get the feeling that people out there think that tutors can provide a miracle quick fix and I certainly can't. The older student is way behind ... I think my greatest achievement so far has been to get him to read a novel!
    I didn't make any rash promises, I know the subject (if not the mark scheme and standards for grades for KS 3 and 4, which I'm swotting up on) and I'm enthusiastic and encouraging ... but I feel as if I'm falling into a bottomless pit. I don't know where to start with these children as it seems so very late in the day. I worry that teaching to the test (which is what the parents are asking for) will further erode their confidence and fail to get them what they're paying for, too.
     
  3. Anonymous

    Anonymous New commenter

    Parents have to be realistic. You only have an hour a week to catch up on years of schooling. I had a client last year. He got a D in GCSE maths 2 years ago - for uni, he needs a B. He was not at school so I could do 3 hrs a week - plus he had to do a lot of revision. He just missed it by 7 marks!! I have him again for the retakes. But I told his parents it was a big ask - some people are grade D for a reason!! (But I didn't say that!!)
     
  4. All you can do is try your best. Don't whip out the exam papers, otherwise when little Rodney sits the exam he will look at the paper saying "s**** , these questions are different!" if you excuse the expletive. :)
     
  5. CathySupply

    CathySupply New commenter

    Thanks for the reassurance, kind people. I'm having this boy for three hours a week so at least there's some scope for improvement. Think I'm probably worrying too much (OH heaves theatrical sighs when the printer ink runs dry yet again because I've printed off too much advice from the DES. Or whatever they're called now).
    Lovely, lovely feedback this evening from the mum of a seven-year-old. I've persuaded her not to spend nearly £400 on dyslexia testing for her perfectly normal daughter. I wish I'd taped her rendering of 'The Cat in the Hat'.
     

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